I remember my father saying to me “stop dragging your feet”, not metaphorically, literally. We would be walking and he would say that. I’d wonder, what did he mean? My feet were connected to my legs and they were not being dragged. I spent a lot of my childhood clueless to what adults said. Maybe my head was ‘in the clouds’ too much or go on think it, I wasn’t that bright. To understand what my father meant, I would have to be mindful of how I was walking which in this case was a kind of shuffle that made irritating noise.
Mindfulness. That’s a word I’ve been hearing repeated in many different contexts. Today I’m going to explore what that means for a writer. What I’ve come to learn is at its simplest form mindfulness is taking time to give your mind control of who you are. To me that means paying attention and focus. It means ‘taking time to smell the roses’ because I am aware that the roses are there. That is a Western view of a discipline that employs meditation and mind training with roots in Eastern religions.
Writers know a lot about purpose and driving themselves towards it. The fight against distractions and competing thoughts that interfere with the creative process is real. Often ‘writer’s block’ is the worries of life clogging passageways to where most creative energy is stored. But its not just about life invading that special zone, its about not establishing a place in the mind to go there.
Starting your day, starting your writing time by first focusing on thankfulness, on goodness, on compassion, on acknowledging shortcomings, on the truth and value you want to convey in your written word, sets the pace. Which brings me to a point. Setting the pace is what I would call the old phrase for mindfulness. I’ve lived by the axiom that it is in my control to ‘set the pace’ as in a marathon, the marathon that I am an individual runner in, responsible for how I run that race.
If I set the pace to be competitive, argumentative, defensive, abusive or defeating, that is the race I will experience. In the context of writing, if I determine that I will communicate a message of value to another person, all of my being will pursue that goal. That will take mindfulness, an act of practice and purpose.
I’ve been accused of being a ‘flower child’ born at the wrong time full of the ideals of love, joy and peace for everyone. I say, ‘what’s wrong with that?’. There are so many people who genuinely want everyone to experience those things. I suspect there are more of us then the news would indicate.
Let’s get writing and spreading some of that good stuff around.
Just another word, that doesn’t mean only stories about fluffy bunnies and happy do-gooders. A message of hope and strength comes in many forms including horror, memoirs describing painfilled lives, poetry that digs into our darkest fears, tales of dysfunctional families, fantasy worlds with battling demons. If the writer has trained their mind to be intentional in adding value to the reader, it’s all good.
Quick Review of “MyLife” mindfulness app:
This app has a comfortable platform allowing you to pick attributes that you want to focus on such as: kindness, gratefulness, strength. Depending on which topics are chosen, meditation sequences are offered. The sessions include instructions on how to submerge your mind into the topic. For example, for kindness the speaker will first draw you to focus on your body and how you feel then toward feelings of kindness to someone you love, someone you don’t love or hate and someone you dislike. The instruction is to direct your thoughts to wishing kindness in all those situations to train your mind to always choose kindness; a worthy goal.
There are also modules called “Journeys” on reducing stress, knowing your body, improving sleep etc.
This app has a lot of variety and choices which to me translates into ‘fun’. There’s something for everyone. Be advised, to access most of the options, it requires a subscription. So, if spending money knocks you out of mindfulness, you may want to consider…a book.